A #Birding Journey Never to be Taken Again

I recently drove back to Lincoln, Nebraska from Tucson on February 28. And while driving through southeastern Colorado, I realized I would never take the trip again.

December 31, 2021 heading to Tucson.

You see, I will be relocating to the southeast in the summer to begin a tenure track Assistant Professor job(big announcement to come on my real name twitter) so I will not be driving to Lincoln, or from Lincoln ever again July 2022.

I came to Tucson on New Years Eve to avoid the polar vortex that often befalls Nebraska in winter. As a griever and a naturalist, it is incredibly hard for me to keep the faith in temperatures that hurt your face. The birdsong is gone, the clouds are grey and it is dangerous to go outside. If my strength and hope comes from the beauty and soundscape of nature, then winter in Nebraska during freezing cold would deplete me emotionally. I knew I had a dissertation to finish writing and I needed good vibes to motivate me. So it was important that I go to Tucson.

My family was against my doing this. Mostly because of the costs, but also because it seemed incredibly complicated and unorthodox. My family is VERY conventional. I did not have much money because I’d just paid my bills and I’d provided my daughter with a lot of resources before I left. I ended up borrowing money from my older sister, mom, and a friend in order to make my trip. I am grateful for their generosity.

The airbnb I stayed in while in Tucson

I have a trusted friend who lives in Tucson, but she lives in a senior community so it would not have worked for me to stay with her. But she was kind to let me do my laundry at her house while there and chill with her, when I needed a change of scene.

A kind person at University of Arizona helped me to find a study space while there.

Dissertating in the Department of Geography Space!

In a way I knew my time in Tucson would be special. THe first weekend I was there I spotted a rare bird, the Crested Caracara. I was heading down to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. It was beside the road feeding. What made its appearance rare was the time of the year and how north it was.

I also saw the Elegant Trogon in Portal while there. This is a very sought after bird.

It was moving and I was far away. I am still so amazed that I saw 15 minutes after I arrived at Portal!

Elegant Trogons are one of the most sought-after birds by bird watchers in the U.S., They breed regularly in only four mountain ranges in Arizona: the Atascosas, Chiricahuas, Huachucas, and Santa Ritas. 


Here were some other amazing birds I saw while in Tucson

While in Tucson, I was flown out for a job that I was eventually offered:

Pictures above are from my visit there.

I was so honored for the opportunity.

But no, I will never have to drive from Tucson to Lincoln again.

I am grateful for the time there, for the travel mercies that ensured my safe journey back and most of all, for the Life Force that my Angel Son Ricky continues to send me to keep me pushing on.

Grievers, keep going.

Published by Christy Hyman, PhD (spatialhuman6)

Historical Geographer, digital humanist, mother, griefworker, activist, advocate

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